Our Travels – Cagliari, Italy
Our last port of call was Cagliari, Italy. Cagliari is an Italian municipality and the capital of the island of Sardinia.
This was a surprise stop, since we were originally scheduled to visit Tunisia, in North Africa. Tunisia was one of the first locations to be nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, but when Mother Nature calls, a good ship’s captain listens, so we were happy to visit Cagliari instead!
Cagliari is often compared to the Caribbean because of it’s beautiful beaches and tropical climate. That being said, we were still very grateful for our jackets and chic Italian scarves!
Costa provided free maps and transportation from the port to the city.
The shuttle drops you off across the street from the city where you can choose a tour, or walk across the street to enjoy the city on foot.
There were several tour options.
On this stop, we missed our usual tourist train option, and signed up for a van tour that promised some amazing sights.
The biggest drawback to this program was the difficulty of taking photos and seeing the ‘amazing sights’ while seated in an enclosed 15 person van. Although it was warmer than the tourist train or open top bus, it would not be our choice on a repeat visit.
The Bastion of Saint Remy, located in the center of the old city, is one of the most important monuments of Cagliari. It was built on the ancient remains of the original medieval walls, its name originates from the first viceroy of Piedmont, the Baron de Saint-Remy.
The promenade deck and the majestic terrace Umberto I, was designed in 1896 by Giuseppe Costa and Fulgenzio Setti. The imposing structure, built in the classical style and displaying white and yellow limestone columns with Corinthian capitals, was inaugurated in 1901. In 1943, the double staircase and the Arch of Triumph were severely damaged by bombing during World War II; however, some time later, the destroyed parts were faithfully reconstructed.
Outer walls of the city.
The first stop of our van tour was inside the original old city at the St. Pancras Tower. Our plan was to get out and walk around, then return to the stop and ride down to the next one. Unfortunately, when we arrived there was a crowd of 20 to 25 people clamoring to board the van, apparently they had been waiting for some time for the next shuttle and were none too happy about it. After a quick discussion, we decided we did not want to be stranded, so almost everyone already in the van decided to remain in the van. So off we went, leaving a very unhappy group behind us. Needless to say, we were VERY sorry we didn’t take the tourist train.
At the second stop, we left the shuttle and walked around to the top of the old city wall to climb another of the ancient towers-the Elephant Tower- which made up the defense of the original city.
The Civil Hospital St John of God is the oldest in the garrison city of Cagliari. Built in 1844, designed by renowned architect Gaetano Cima, is, par excellence, the hospital of Cagliari. In fact, it is a heritage of the city not only for the role it plays for more than a century in providing care to its citizens, but also to his roots in the community and in the urban fabric. The St John of God is a multi-specialist garrison that still represents a landmark in the island thanks to the many health centers of excellence working there.
The Torre dell’Elefante (Italian: “Tower of the Elephant”) is a medieval tower in Cagliari, southern Sardinia, Italy. It is located in the Castello historical quarter of the city.
The tower was built in 1307, during the Pisan domination of the city, by the Sardinian architect Giovanni Capula, who had also designed the Torre di San Pancrazio two years earlier, as well as the Torre dell’Aquila, partly destroyed in the 18th century and now incorporated in Palazzo Boyl. The tower was part of the city’s fortifications built against the Moorish and Genoese attacks. With a height of 31 metres, the tower was built on three sides in white limestone from the nearby Colle di Bonaria; another side was open and featured four floors of wooden galleries. It has also a gate, that, together with that of the Torre di San Pancrazio, is still the main entrance to Castello. Courtesy of Wikipedia
The Tower of the Elephant is the second highest tower in Cagliari, and the admission fee to climb to the top was 3 euros. The climb up was rather exhilirating, considering the steps were practically a ladder from one level to the next.
Amazing views from the top of the tower!
Returning to the city center, we took a short cut via an elevator between the tower and the city center which dropped us right in the middle of a local market area.
There were a number of cafes and shops, so we stopped in at a small market and enjoyed a wine and cheese tasting. Of course, we just had to bring back a bit of both to enjoy on the ship! Yet another benefit of cruising within the EU; your wine is not confiscated and then returned to you at the end of your cruise.
Our missed ride : (…
Walking down the main street in front of the port, we stumbled across a interesting display of several cats and mice together… the cats and the mice got along just fine.
Looking for a bite to eat, we pulled out our handy smartphone and found this delightful little restaurant. We enjoyed an amazing meal of pasta, Paella and grilled fish, and we are still talking about how great that meal was!
Thank you for the great recommendation Tripadvisor!!
Sadly, it was time to head back to the ship…
Arrivederci Cagliari, we can’t wait to visit when we can hit the beach!!
Author: Desiree Carter
Photos: ©Cedric Carter